The 2022 MSU-SEAS Program Conducted by the Northern Gulf Institute, E&O team, several faculty members from the Mississippi State University Department of Geosciences, and staff members from the Mississippi Aquarium. Took 30 Middle, Highschool and Homeschooled students out as the second cohort of learners, experiencing a hands-on marine science excursion, while learning positive behavioral practices that promote sustainable choices in safeguarding the Gulf of Mexico’s marine ecosystem. The day-long excursion traveled out into the Mississippi Sound and onshore along the beaches of Cat Island aboard the R/V Jim Franks operated by the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.
“We believe an engaged and informed public is a great partner in the effort to protect the Gulf of Mexico’s environment,” said Jonathan Harris, Northern Gulf Institute outreach director. “By giving students access to this kind of learning, NGI and the Mississippi Aquarium is making its research relevant to the students who will become the stakeholders and citizens of the future.”
students were immersed in hands-on activities which included collection of marine scientific data, water quality samples and seafloor sediment, and identification of various marine species, as well as invasive aquatic plants. Program organizers and education experts said another program priority is to practice one of the main tenets of modern educational theory, the concept of experiential learning, in which students are engaged when learn by doing.
“The idea is that through exposure to real-life scientific sampling techniques and locally relevant lesson content, we can remove the shadow of classroom learning and spark an interest in the sciences that will impact not only their future educational choices, but also their life-long interest and hopefully their career pathways"
NGI and the Mississippi Aquarium offer the program twice a year to public and homeschooled students. Student participants in this cohort were from all along the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi Coastal Counties, as well as several students from as far north as Tupelo and Kosciusko.
The Northern Gulf Institute, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Cooperative Institute managed by MSU, is a partnership of six complementary academic institutions and NOAA addressing important national strategic research and education goals. For more information, please visit www.ngi.msstate.edu
The Mississippi Aquarium, a premier institution, delivers an awe-inspiring entertainment experience that supports animal research and conservation, inspires learning, and instills a passion for the aquatic world. For more information, please visit https://www.msaquarium.org/
For more information about the MSU-SEAS Program, please contact NGI Outreach Director Jonathan Harris at email@example.com.